James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from James Taylor, 7 July 1811

From James Taylor

Belle Vue Kentucky July 7th. 1811.

Dear sir

Inclosed I send you a letter I lately recieved from my friend Judge Coburn.1

It was intended for my sight alone;2 but as it explains the cause why he did not attend his Court in Louisiana last Spring, I had a wish that you should see it from under his own hand.

This letter contains some expressions which so well comports with my own sentiments & feelings, as to our political & foreign relations, and beleiving that they are not at varience with your own, that I have ventured to inclose it to you without his knowledge or consent. By this letter you will see his sentiments on those subjects undisguised.

There may be some clamors against the Judge on the score that he has not his family in the Territory, but I am sure there cannot be another Objection made, and I am induced to think there may be urged some good reasons urged [sic], why a Judge who is not on the spot to enter into the party fealings of the two opposite interests, which have uniformly divided more or less all the different Territorial Goverments, is better able in many grand questions to decide correctly.

In the event of our Govt. having to contend with either of the two belligerents I am confident you will find no section of the Union more disposed to support the rights & dignity of the Nation than this part of the Western Country.

I lately spent several days among our friends in the neighbourhood of Louisville in the state they were generally well, except the old Commodore, he has been a long time confined with his thigh, and he was very anxious to have his leg amputated. I was present at a Consaltation of Surgeons, they decided against it for the present, he is geting better slowly.

I hope this may find your self & Lady in good health. I have the honor to be with great friendship & esteem Dr. sir Your friend & Servt.

James Taylor

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, ML). For enclosure, see n. 1.

1Taylor enclosed an 18 June 1811 letter he had received from Coburn (3 pp.; printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Louisiana-Missouri, 14:461–62). The judge explained that illness had prevented him from attending his court in the spring. The remainder of the letter discussed politics. Coburn mentioned that “our Senator” (John Pope) had been “handled roughly by his constituents,” leading the judge to conclude that “plain simple, and honest republicanism; has an easy task to perform, compared to time-serving & duplicity” of “equivocal men.” Convinced that “prattling Lawyers, were not the best statesmen,” Coburn further remarked that “young, inexperienced politicians … are not the best men for the management of the great concerns of a Nation.” He was gratified to see “our old and faithful servant Monroe” back in office, having feared that “Randolph and his party had seduced him.” He suspected that “the good old Thomas Jefferson has smoothed the way to Mo[n]roe’s return to our councils. The faithless British pirates have recd a check, which wd. seem to promise some good. May it serve to deter them from future aggressions.”

2Taylor was Coburn’s brother-in-law (see Taylor to JM, 8 Feb. 1807, printed ibid., 14:91).

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